When I first heard about maker spaces, I was immediately excited. I am a large proponent for student-led learning, and for project-based learning. Maker spaces really tie into both of these.
A maker space is a space where students can make things. This sounds simple and straight-forward, and it is. But no two maker spaces will look the same. A maker space might be in the school’s library, or there could be a maker space in each classroom on campus. One maker space may include robots and 3D printers, while another maker space might have a lego wall and some cardboard boxes. Tools in maker spaces might range from sewing machines, to computers, to power tools, and even to scissors and crayons. What is available in a maker space isn’t as important as what is being conducted in a maker space.
The goal of a maker space is not the end product (though students do create some amazing things.) The real goal in a maker space is to experience, learn, and grow through the process of creating something. Adam Savage does an amazing job in explaining how the journey is more valuable than the destination for makers in his TED Talk: My Obsessions With Objects and the Stories They Tell.
Students get too few opportunities to freely create and explore. This is an issue, because so much authentic learning happens from these situations. A maker space may the solution to this problem, but it is a step the right direction.
If you are interested in learning more about maker spaces, or you are thinking about adding a maker space to your classroom or school. Here are a few great resources to get you started.